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Project Background

The spark that started Girls of Armenia Leadership Soccer (GOALS) was first lit when the Football Federation of Armenia (FFA) disbanded the women’s national team program in 2013, citing budget cuts. In reaction, GOALS was created in 2015 with the aim of establishing safe spaces to play soccer as a way to empower young girl from underprivileged and underserved villages to become leaders, speak their minds, and challenge social norms. Despite social stigma and lack of previous advancement in the area of female soccer, GOALS established a network of supporters to promote gender equality through sport. With the help of Armenian volunteers across the country, GOALS opened the first female soccer league in Armenia, based in Goris. Today, GOALS has soccer leagues in Alaverdi, Goris, Dilijan, and Yeghegnadzor, impacting 284 girls in total.

During 2018, GOALS plans to launch a female soccer league in the Kotayk Region. Recognizing the lack of facilities and opportunities for girls in this region to be involved in sport and society, GOALS will work with young girls with the aim of changing their mindsets regarding women’s role in society through sport.

In order to create momentum for a league, two one-day “Sport for Social Impact” trainings will be organized in spring 2018 to each impact at least 30 local coaches, NGO workers, physical education teachers, and others, as well as 30 youth (aged 12-15). Through this program, 60 youth will learn about teamwork, leadership skills, tolerance, and gender equality, etc.

In the summer, GOALS will hold a soccer leadership summer camp for girls (aged 14-16) from five communities in Kotayk. The day camp will last three days with lessons, including technical soccer drills, leadership activities, and sport for social impact games. The end result of these activities, aside from their direct impact, will be to identify a local coordinator and five coaches who will sign a one-year contract and build teams in their communities of the Kotayk Region. Each team will consist of 12 to 15 girls, aged 12-17. The first league season will be launched in September 2018.

Through these initiatives, girls will learn about leadership and teamwork by playing sports for social impact interactive games aimed to educate and encourage discussions around social issues such as human rights, equality, and civic activism. They will also learn about gender equality and discrimination by taking part in lessons and listening to guest speakers at the camp.

This project is not just about learning how to play soccer. Giving girls the chance to play soccer is not only an opportunity for them to be part of a team and lead a healthy lifestyle, but it will also increase their decision-making skills, leadership skills, self-confidence, and enable them to find their voices. Through this program, we will be able to empower more young women to become future leaders through the power of sport!

In the long term, over 300 youth, parents, and coaches in the Kotayk Region will be impacted by this project.

Project Goal

To use soccer as a tool for empowering a new generation of independent and self-confident young girls in the Kotayk Region of Armenia.

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Women's Guild of St. Mary's Armenian Church

TIBA Investments LLC

Taendem Agency Inc.

Brian Saliba

Tatevik Khoja-Eynatyan

Diron Jebejian

Armenian Church of San Antonio

VMWare IT Armenia

Michael Candan

Aram Mkrtchyan

Kristin Cass

Armenian Public

Peter Mikaelian-Maag

Arsen Hayrapetyan

Adam Rosenblatt

Jonathan Campbell

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